Longtime officer, Wake Tech dean weighs in on evolving policing strategies, including ‘defunding’

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Following two weeks of protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd, a growing push to defund the police has gained momentum nationwide.

Today’s police officers are asked to wear many hats in the field as they respond to calls involving mental health, social services, and domestic issues along with scenes that could be deadly.

“In October, I’ll celebrate 32 years being a sworn law enforcement officer,” said Jeffrey Robinson.

Wake Technical Community College Dean of Public Safety Jeffrey Robinson has dedicated his life to law enforcement, but he says things have changed since he left his patrol car for the classroom.

“I would immediately have to make changes in order for me to police today compared to the ’80s when I started,” said Robinson.

Over the years Robinson says departments across the country have been forced to revise their policing strategies.

“The greatest change I’ve probably seen is that we are now having to watch use of force, and how we utilize it,” said Robinson.

However, Robinson says recent events, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have only underscored the importance of improving.

“We in law enforcement will definitely have to change,” said Robinson. “We’re going to have to change how we train, and how we even recruit.”

While that has lead to calls for police forces to be defunded, Robinson views it as an opportunity.

“Some of the dollars are working on helping people with mental health crisis, or social work type scenarios,” said Robinson. “If they’re saying something like that I think there could be some kind of bridge program.”

He views any program that frees up officers to patrol as a positive.

“There are some things that have gone wrong, and to deny it is not part of the solution,” said Robinson.

It’s also why Robinson says he’s encouraged about the future of policing.

“If you are thinking about helping people law enforcement and public safety is that kind of profession,” said Robinson. “You make sacrifices, but you can go out and make an impact.”

Wake Tech and other colleges across North Carolina are preparing for a potential boom in interest in basic law enforcement training in the summer and fall semesters.

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